SMART Goal Setting

Start setting SMART goals. This is an effective way to ensure your goal is properly set so that you can achieve your dreams in life.

To set an effective goal, make it specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound (S.M.A.R.T.).

Be certain that at the end of the journey, the goal you've reached is the right one, and the best way to do this is to set smart goals.

If you think S.M.A.R.T. when setting your goals, you'll have a good start towards getting things right.

1. Specific

When setting a goal, be very specific. Not only will you know where you're going, but you'll be in a far better position to define the exact steps you need to get there.

Fuzzy Goals:
"I'm going to work hard so I'll make more money next year" is fuzzy.

Specific Goals:
"I'm going to increase my income by 15 percent in 12 months, and here's [my plan] for how I'll do it"

The description of the goal needs to be specific, the plan for getting there needs to be specific and the means of measuring progress along the way need to be specific, which brings us to M.

2. Measurable

Attach a number to your goal.

"More" or "Greater" of "Stronger" aren't real measures, and don't tell you a great deal.

Time is also an important part of the equation. 2 weeks? 6 months? November 15th? If your goal is to bench press 150 times by November 15th, and come April you're only pressing less than 10, what does that tell you about meeting your goal?

The goal needs to be measurable and the steps need to be measurable. And the measures which tell you how you are doing should be quantifiable.

The measure may be in weight lifted, miles you ran, or dollars made or saved.

3. Attainable

Your goals may be specific and measurable, but are they attainable?

Tripling your income within 6 months may not be attainable if you have a 9 to 5 job at Wendy's, and you're working at an entry level wage.

It's all right to aim high and set high targets, but make sure it's attainable. Depending on your current situation, tripling your income within 6 years instead of 6 months may be more attainable.

You know yourself better; you know what you can achieve, set attainable goals!

4. Relevant

Now you have set a goal that's very specific, it's measurable, and something you're capable of attaining, you should ensure that it is relevant.

An effective goal is relevant to your values and personal dreams. A relevant goal is one that has meaning, to you and to those around you.

It would seem obvious that working towards a goal that's irrelevant is a waste of time, yet too often we do just that.

Ask yourself whether the goal you set is relevant in line with your values.

5. Time-Bound

Include the time factor. Setting deadlines are crucial to show your commitment to your goal. Commit yourself to achieve a target by the due date. But remember, make sure it is attainable at the same time. Don't set unrealistic deadlines.

If you've been setting goals but not achieving them, stop setting vague goals. Set effective goals. Use the SMART criteria for all of your personal goals.